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the local shop...

So, I've been eying a new camera on Amazon.com for about a week and a half, now. It's got a ton of great features, and sounds a lot like it has a more solid feel to it, less slip-in-pockety, more hang-around-necky. Which is what I think I need, for whatever illogical reasons may sway me. It'll get me out more, off my ass and enjoying my hobby.

I went to the little camera shop on Mass Ave. in Arlington, the one between Arlington Center and Blue Ribbon, to see if they had it there for me to hold, and see, and mess around with. They did. But here's the (predictable) kicker: they're selling it at full retail price, while Amazon has a significant (over 10%) discount on it. If I buy the camera from Amazon, that's one more straw on the local shops' camelbacks...

There are free market arguments here, and there are tragedy of the commons arguments to be made.

If I buy it from Amazon, do I put a penny in the jar of "Don't let anyone but serious customers look at the equipment" at all the camera shops around the world? I suppose at some point even Amazon has to worry about this trend; I don't think I'd buy this camera without getting to see it first, and I imagine most people are in the same boat.

Bleah. It's the wrong season to be looking at stuff for myself, anyway.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
lemurtanis
Dec. 9th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)
I feel like you should decide what a fair price is for the brick-and-mortar place allowing you to try the thing out. If that price is greater than the discount, buy from Amazon.
lemurtanis
Dec. 9th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)
Hrm. Backwards. You know what I meant.
zkzkz
Dec. 9th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
The last time I had this situation I mentioned it and the bookstore matched Amazon's price. They knew very well what Amazon's price was...
crs
Dec. 9th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
I considered trying that, but... I don't know, it feels wrong doing even that, somehow.

I should go back during tomorrow's store hours and try it, though, maybe.
remcat
Dec. 10th, 2006 03:01 am (UTC)
That was going to be my suggestion to -- go and say that you'd really like to give your business to them, and is there any way they could meet the Amazon price, or maybe meet you halfway.

Alternatively, search for your camera on thefind.com -- Amazon has high prices generally.
jered
Dec. 10th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
Absolutely nothing wrong with that (unless you want to be a sucker).

If you had a store you liked, but the store down the street sold the same product for $10 less, would you not mention this to the store you liked in hopes that they would match it for you?

They're going to make a profit, even if they sell it for you at Amazon's price. Amazon made it so you knew exactly what you wanted, and didn't have to waste time consume their staff's time. If you buy it from them at Amazon's price, you're supporting small business and giving them a profit they wouldn't otherwise have.
intuition_ist
Dec. 9th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
here's a thought -- amazon should sell brick & mortar franchises.

pick a product type (digital cameras). buy one of each up front at some discount. rent a storefront. display products, answer questions, provide a terminal to order from amazon. get a percentage of each sale from amazon.

think "apple store" but less acreage and less shiny.
firstfrost
Dec. 10th, 2006 01:03 am (UTC)
I disapprove, ethically, of doing all your research at a brick-and-mortar store and then swapping to Amazon to buy. But that's not what you're doing. You did most of your research on Amazon, and dropped in on the brick and mortar store for extra research. So I think you can buy from Amazon without guilt, but if you want to pay your dues at the camera store, you could go and buy a camera bag from the shop, so you can see which one fits best in person. :)
gmpe
Dec. 10th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC)
When we bought abce's SLR, we got it from the camera shop because the salesman was really helpful in demonstrating features and helping us figure out which camera would be best for him. We'd mostly narrowed it down to two, but his input was very helpful. When I went back to the same camera store to try to figure out which camcorder to get him, the store really couldn't help me. They just didn't know about camcorders. I got my info online, did go to Bestbuy, or somewhere to look at the sizing of the buttons, etc., but didn't feel like I got much help beyond that from staff. The SLR salesman earned his commision and got the sale. The camcorder sale went to crutchfield.com (which has a very nice return policy, btw.) They even threw in a free (nice) camera bag for it.

It's ethics. There isn't necessarily a right answer, although there may be a right answer for you. Anyway, that's how I resolved the dilemma when I was faced with it.
avacon
Dec. 11th, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)
Calmut Camera in East Cambridge is a good place
to try out camera gear that has prices close to and sometimes better
than Amazon. They're targetted at Pros, though, so they mostly
have high-end gear.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )